So, I read (and nap and work and clean and cook) while my kids are sleeping. It’s really the only time I have, and I devour books any chance I get, so those are the moments I claim. Some prioritize showering or seeing the sun everyday — I stay in my cave of an apartment in a ratty Hogwarts t-shirt and read. To each her own.
At the end of each month, I’m going to share the books I read, accompanied by a short review. Hopefully, you can find some of your own naptime (or anytime) reads! And please — share your recommendations with me in the comments below!
Books for June
1. Driving Hungry by Layne Mosler: Years ago, I discovered Layne’s blog, Taxi Gourmet. I have a soft spot for food writing and loved the idea of a quest to find the best food based on recommendations from cab drivers. So cool! So recently, when I found out that Layne had written a book about her domestic (and international) food + taxi adventures, I Amazon-Primed it so quick. I had really expectations for it, because I thought the concept was so original and fun. But for me, the book kind of fell flat. I enjoyed the writing style, but the story itself was painfully slow in parts, and not totally focused throughout. The execution let me wanting. 6/10
2. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen M. Story: I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I met Colleen at the 2018 Storymakers Conference, and knew this book could really help me in my work, as I struggle often to balance my writing workload, family life, and religious and social responsibilities. But this book was a game changer. Seriously. Not only did it help me immensely in developing a more productive writing life, but it also helped me re-find my passion and motivation for writing. It offers implementable solutions and useful practice tools. I highly encourage any writer to read and study this book. Like, now. Go get it. 11/10
3. Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie: Kathryn is another wonderful person I met at Storymakers. She taught a class on inserting crucibles in your novels, and not only was it an extremely informative session, it was enjoyable — Kathryn is funny and smart, and just one of those people you could listen to talk for hours. I was so anxious to dive in to her fantasy novel, and once I did, I couldn’t stop. I finished it in a day, and am already plodding away on the sequel. Burning Glass is unique, captivating, and immersive, filled with characters and world-building that are not overly complicated. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 9/10
4. Model Mormon by Rosemary Card: This book was floating around Instagram with good reviews, and after learning more about Rosie’s story, I knew I wanted to read it. And I’m seriously so glad I did! It’s a quick read, but fun, engaging, and inspiring. Though I’m definitely no high-fashion model like Rosie was, I related and connected to parts of her journey, and thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and humor. Wish it was longer — I could have read Rosie’s writing for hundreds of pages. 9/10
5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: If this isn’t already one of your book club’s montly picks, it should be. Another book I could not put down. The novel resolves around a girl who grows up in the foster system, only to be adopted by a woman who teachers her all about the language of flowers — an old Victorian tradition of communicating messages through the meaning of flowers. Later, when she’s on her own, she continues to pursue her love for flowers while navigating love and motherhood. I love that this book centers around that flowers and how humans use them — rather than words — to communicate. Original, heartbreaking, and beautiful. 8/10
6. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: So truth be told, I read this book as a requirement for AP Lang in high school. I don’t think I appreciated it enough then, but I do now, as I’ve made freelance writing my career and novel writing my goal. This small paperback is chock-full of the most valuable writing guidance, every page filled with helpful gems, like taking on short assignments, being okay with crappy first drafts, and listening to your broccoli (gonna have to read it to understand this one). Anne’s writing style is completely her own; it made me literally laugh out loud in parts, nod in wondered amazement and agreement in others. It’s seamless, beautiful, with a twist of dark humor. This is another book I cannot recommend enough to other writers — Bird by Bird will help you be a better writer in every way. Through its writing, and through its message, it will educated you. 10/10